The Playstation Blog got time with the Overkill guys about their upcoming game Payday: The Heist (which was Top Three of E3 here at GDN). We’ve got some of the interview here along with the new trailer and a link to the rest.
PlayStation.Blog: What was the inspiration for PAYDAY: The Heist? Why was it important to focus on four-player co-op and not going the Left 4 Dead route with 4 v 4?
Simon Vicklund, OVERKILL Software: The idea came from way back – a pet project of sorts for the guys on the team. Part of what eventually caused us to start working on the project was the profound truth that Dane Cook shared when he said that “every guy wants to be part of a heist” – we realized how incredibly accurate that statement is, haha. Then of course, a lot of inspiration came from several epic Hollywood movie movies such as “Heat”, “The Dark Knight” and “Die Hard”. There’s also an ambush sequence in one of the heists that is inspired by a scene in “Clear and Present Danger” – but you get to be the guys that are doing the shooting!
PSB: Casing the bank pre-heist: Is it purely for atmospheric effect, or can you use it to your advantage in any way?
Simon: While it definitely adds to the anticipation of the heist there is of course a tactical aspect to casing the joint. The more information you can gather before letting the cat out of the bag, the better. In order to actually start the bank robbery you need to put your mask on and draw your weapon – and within a certain time from that point, the police will show up. So you’ll be “ahead of the game,” so to speak, if you have already scouted the place and know where the guards and cameras are, and where the bank manager – who you need to find – is located. Random elements make this a worthwhile approach every time you play the First World Bank Heist, and there are other heists with similar intro sequences. Other heists are even more dependent on sneaking and scouting. We have a Diamond heist where casing is even more important as you’ll be taking out alarms, avoiding laser beams and sneaking around guards.
PSB: You’ve mentioned that PAYDAY has “endless replayability.” How widely can individual heists vary? In what kinds of ways?
Simon: The objectives in the heist remain the same; the way you achieve those objectives can be different from play-through to play-through. It’s not just the pacing of the attack waves and the enemy’s entry points that change, but also things like the behavior of NPCs and their tactics. Certain people you need to locate are always found in different places, a bag of C4 dropped from a helicopter sometimes lands on the roof, sometimes in the back alley, etc. There’s a heist we call “Slaughterhouse” in which you shoot at an armored car to make it stop. Depending on when you manage to stop the armored car, its final position will differ – and that greatly effects how the rest of the scenario plays out! Another element that adds to the replayability is the statistics that measure your success during a heist: How many civilians did you kill? How fast did you complete the heist? You can decide to try to do a “clean hit” and complete the level without killing any civilians, or simply polish your completion time. On top of this there are four difficulty settings, and while your are playing the game you constantly get new weapons and toys that you make you want to try new tactics in each heist: What if I set up trip mines here? What if I put a bag of extra ammo there? The scenarios weave into the hub style level design in such complex ways that seeminly small decisions can make a great impact.
PSB: You can tie down civilians to take them out of commission — why is crowd control important? Will civilians ever attack you or impede you?
Simon: First and foremost, civilians are important to the game from a thematical perspective. If you rob a bank, there will be customers there, and that’s something you’ll have to deal with. Civilians can be an asset to you, as you can use them to trade with the police – but if you kill civilians you will be penalized.
To read the rest of the interview hit up the PSB.